scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: [Fwd: OA & LDS]
Drew Mrenna (dmrenna@USA.PIPELINE.COM
Wed Mar 29 2000 - 13:09:01 CST
Kip asked if I would forward his reply to the rest of the group. He was
not at his normal computer, so he could not do it himself.
attached mail follows:
I'm in Great Salt Lake Council 590 and El-Ku-Ta Lodge 520, headquartered
in Salt Lake City, Utah; and I'm LDS. Our lodge has some 1,500 members --
and we are currently an Honor Lodge. That means, among other things, we
reached a specific percentage of units for elections, and met a minimum
for 'conversion' to Brotherhood membership.
See comments below . . .
On Wed, 29 Mar 2000, Drew Mrenna wrote:
> At our District Meeting last night it was mentioned that very few LDS
> troops participated in OA electrions.
> Some reasons given were:
> 1. LDS units only camp Friday night.
LDS units are counseled to avoid activities on Sunday that do not well
lend themselves to respectful observance of the Sabbath, as we
(LDS) understand it. Generally, travel out of the area (driving to/from
camp) on Sunday is counseled against. Likewise, camping is viewed as an
activity not generally conducive to the spirit of the Sabbath. That is
not to say that it is impossible for LDS units to camp on the Sabbath.
Rather, that such would be an exception.
Scouting is implemented in the LDS Church as the "activity arm of the
Aaronic priesthood." As such, Scouting activities must meet with the
approval of the CO. Camping on the Sabbath is occassionally acceptable,
if certain provisions are made. Among these, the camp would not commence
or conclude on Sunday, eliminating the need to set up/break down and
travel. Religious observances would need to be planned, and the remainder
of in-camp activities on Sunday be mitigated as much as possible to
engender an air of reverence.
> 2. LDS units do not tend to go camping on a monthly bases.
As with units of all other COs similar in nature to the LDS Church
(Methodists comes to mind as the group registering the most individuals,
with the LDS Church chartering the most units), the degree of
participation in each of the Methods varies from unit to unit. The troop
with which I am newly affiliated has been a year-round camping unit in
years past, but not for the past several years. Once again, it working
> Given #1 and #2, they may not have enough camping time.
The change of the long term camp requirement to five nights a couple years
ago was done out of respect for the large number of units who, like LDS
units, elect not to camp on their respective Sabbaths (be that Saturday or
Sunday). The short term camp requirement, at the same time, became a tad
bit harder to achieve, since it went from nine nights, to ten. And,
considering the change was, in a sense, to accomodate non-Sabbath camping
units, this same change made attainment somewhat more difficult. Where
members of the 'traditional' unit could well meet the camping requirement
in six months (five weekends = 10 nights short term, one week at summer
camp), those units not camping on their Sabbaths will require a minimum of
11 months (ten one-nighters, and a week at summer camp).
In councils where the summer camps (long term camp under the auspices of
and approved by BSA) include travel to/from camp on Sunday, LDS units are
very unlikely to participate, thus making eligibility virtually
unattainable. In other councils, where travel to/from is on Saturday,
many camps make some adjustments to accomodate Sunday Sabbath observance.
These accomodations may include reducing activities scheduled for Sunday;
allowing time for organized religious observances; etc. Even given such
accomodation, many LDS units will still avoid attending the camp. This
has been fairly well mitigated in a few councils by their willingness to
make special accomodation for LDS units in specific periods. That is,
Orange County Council, for example, allocates certain weeks for LDS units.
They are not required to attend in those specific weeks, nor are other
units precluded from attending in those weeks. The council has simply
made changes in those week to make the camp more "LDS-friendly," so to
> 3. They perceive the OA as a secret organization. [deletia]
While possible, this can be overcome through education. The LDS Church
has certain rites which it holds sacred and avoids placing them in the
public view. Having this background, it is logical for an
as-yet-uninformed LDS Scouter to view the 'mystery' aspect of the OA's
ceremonies as akin to religion. Considering that the LDS Scouter is
appointed by the IH to serve in Scouting as a function of the LDS
religion, that Scouter could (and should) be leery of any aspect of
religion taught in secrecy (as he might perceive it, until he gets
educated about the OA).
Keeping in mind that the ceremonies were originally conceived of and
designed by a Mason and a Methodist minister, it is easy to see how
certain parts of the ceremonies may seem to contain religious undertones.
And, considering the traditional view of most native cultures toward Earth
and God, that is an easily established conception.
> Are there any success stories that I can pass onto the OA chapter?
As I said, El-Ku-Ta Lodge 520 is currently an Honor Lodge, with a
membership of around 1,500 Arrowmen. Tu-Kubin-Noonie Lodge of Utah
National Parks Council (the southern half of Utah, plus a bit more) is
also one of the larger and more active lodges in the BSA. The same can be
said of Awaxawa Awachea (sp?) to the north. If the OA can operate
successfully in the heart of "Mormondom," it should not have major
difficulties informing and working with LDS units elsewhere.
Kip Keil, DBA |
firstname.lastname@example.org | We all learn from history....
http://www.utahoutdoors.com | either by study, or by repetition.
- Kip Keil, 1998